Sweden

  • Springtime for NATO in the North

    After the Russian attack on Georgia in 2008, a joke gained some popularity in Finland. It went like this: Vladimir Putin lands at Helsinki airport and proceeds to passport control. “Name?” asks the border guard. “Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,” answers the Russian president. “Occupation?” asks the border guard. “No, just visiting,” answers Putin.

    After the war in Ukraine, nobody laughed anymore.

    Many, including some Scandinavians, had told themselves that the Georgian war was a unique situation—that it was “provoked” by the Georgians and that with the help of some dialogue, Russia would calm down and resume being a responsible actor.

    We all know how that turned out.

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  • Interview with The Young Republic: Local and Regional Activism for Syrians in Europe

    Mohammed Alsaud is the cofounder and chairman of The Young Republic, an NGO based in Sweden with the aim to support the Syrian youth diaspora with their participation and social inclusion in Europe. SyriaSource interviewed Alsaud on the development of the organization and its successes and challenges.  

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  • Sweden’s Reintroduction of the Military Draft Reflects Fears of Russian Aggression

    The Swedes called it a “strategic timeout”. Following the end of the cold war and throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Sweden scaled back its military and defence spending dramatically as it believed in a more peaceful world.
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  • Bildt in the Washington Post: The Truth About Refugees in Sweden


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  • Braw in Politico: Bring Back the Draft. No, Really.


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  • How Far Will Putin Dare to Go in 2017?

    From Brexit to Trump, 2016 was the year fake news became headline news. In Ukraine, however, it was old news. Ukrainians are living through the third winter of an ongoing hybrid war with Russia, a conflict driven to a remarkable degree by fake news.

    But fake news is only one of the many hybrid war techniques Moscow has honed in Ukraine before deploying them further afield. From information attacks to cyber warfare, Ukraine has been the primary testing ground for Russia’s emerging doctrine of hybrid hostilities since 2014. As the world wakes up to the dangers posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s revanchist revolution, Ukraine’s experience offers invaluable insights into the way modern Russia wages war. It may also hold the key to eventual victory.

    Western governments and the media are finally starting to take Russian hybrid aggression more seriously, as reflected by their slow but steady response to the fake news epidemic. The EU led the way in 2015 by setting up East StratCom, a disinformation debunking unit charged with exposing fakes promoted in the Russian media or spread through pro-Russian EU-based platforms. Individual EU member states are also taking action. The Czech Republic recently established a government-funded body tasked with combating Russian fakes, and Germany is exploring similar steps ahead of this autumn’s national elections. In early January 2017, Sweden’s most authoritative foreign policy institute released a report accusing Russia of waging information warfare against the Scandinavian nation. Even in the United States, President-elect Donald Trump finds himself confronted with bipartisan demands for a forceful response to Russian hybrid attacks.

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  • 10 Most Popular NATO Stories of 2016

    2016 was full of major developments in European security. Moscow’s campaign against the Western democracies went beyond the DNC hack and interference in the US elections.
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  • Head of Intelligence Warns of Russian Influence Operations Inside Sweden

    Must is the branch of the Swedish Armed Forces that is the main foreign intelligence agency in the country. Its head, Major General Gunnar Karlson, spoke openly about Russian attempts to influence Sweden during an interview with SVT’s Agenda show on Sunday evening....
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  • Swedish Tech Entrepreneurs Find Top Talent and Warm Welcome in Ukraine

    Gustav Henman describes his time at Moscow State University as a “Russian cold shower.” But he was no stranger to cold weather as a Swede, and has ended up in Ukraine, where the weather is slightly more moderate and the engineering talent plentiful.

    He and his business partner, Andreas Flodström, went to Ukraine in 2012 and now own an IT development company called Beetroot and a nonprofit IT school called the Beetroot Academy. Their website reads, “Beetroot. The home of great teams. Based in Ukraine, with a uniquely Swedish signature.”

    “We did two tech start-ups in Sweden and had trouble finding enough good engineers there, so we expanded by working with Ukrainians,” said Henman in a recent interview in Kyiv. “It was a supply-demand situation and there were issues regarding working remotely with teams.”

    The two entrepreneurs saw two opportunities: tapping Ukraine’s technological excellence, and training more Ukrainians to work in the IT field with clients outside the country.

    They had initially scouted Russia, Moldova, and Belarus, but settled on Ukraine. “The country was based on good engineering tradition, it felt more welcoming, and it was a lower threshold to get started,” said Henman. “Ukraine’s mindset was different and you could get a sense of that back then in 2012.”

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  • Braw in the National Interest: Why Is Sweden Destroying Ninety-Six Powerful Fighter Jets That Could Deter Russia?


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